In 1982 Stewart Couch purchased Hatteras Realty from a local builder and subsequently grew the company from only twelve cottages to a nationally recognized organization comprised of over five hundred and sixty properties, with more than two hundred employees during peak season. One such employee was Amy Helle, who started in the company as a housekeeper, and worked in almost every single position, until taking on her current role as President after Stewart sadly passed away in 2012. Though he is dearly missed, Amy continues her mentor’s vision for the company and his work for unmatched guest experience, beginning with open communication between homeowners and guests. A major proponent of innovation, education, and competition, Amy works closely with us to optimize each client’s experience, and provide seamless service from check-in to check-out.
However, this present day partnership, and easily one of the most valuable and enduring relationships in the vacation rental industry, didn’t begin until 1994, after Stewart and Paul first met to discuss the explosion of the World Wide Web and the implications for vacation rental property. As was custom, Paul, a software engineer and innately innovative thinker, was vacationing in a Hatteras Realty home, and was in discussions with friends and colleagues about how best to utilize the “World Wide Web.” After browsing the Hatteras Realty brochure, and finding that they, too, had an interest in technology Paul had a breakthrough: Fix the vacation rental brochure by making property information available online.
Seeing this opportunity, Paul quickly drafted a letter to Hatteras Realty, and sent it overnight UPS Red. Dick Davis, Stewart’s second in command at the time, responded immediately to convey his enthusiasm for the idea, and a meeting was arranged to discuss the opportunities and implications of marketing over the World Wide Web with Stewart, Dick, and Amy. This brings us back to Paul setting up our first server, the Silicon Graphics Indy, and a monitor the size of a TV on the second floor loft of “Southern Exposure,” a property still in the Hatteras Realty program today. It was in this meeting that the details of a vacation rental property were first viewed on a computer monitor over the internet. Paul had “hit the nail on the head,” and in 1994 the brochure for the following year was posted online. Thus, Hatteras Realty was the very first vacation rental company to market to clients over the internet. With this new weapon for communicating and marketing directly to guests, Hatteras Realty became not only our partner in business, but in innovation, and the very thing that brought us together in 1994 continues to allow us to grow in our service to each other and our valued client base.